Reims and the champagne region of France
- 1-2hrs by train NE from Paris (45min by fast TGV from the new Champagne-Ardenne TGV station, located 5km SW of the city), Reims, once the capital of France (4th to 9th centuries), is the major city of the Champagne region and one of France's most cosmopolitan tourist cities
- Reims was the centre of Roman commerce in France during the Roman Empire, and then with the rise of Christianity, became the epicentre of the Frankish empire and Frankish christianity
- most of its old buildings were destroyed in WWI and the city was extensively rebuilt in the 1920's in an Art Deco style
- the Pass Reims (€9), available at the tourist office, gives you entry to a museum of your choice, an audioguide tour of the city, plus discounts on activities such as Champagne house visits.
- pronunciation: the M is SILENT! pronounced more like (forvo.com audio) RAASE or “rance” without the N
- Notre-Dame de Reims Cathedral
- 25 (almost all) French kings were crowned there for about 1,000 years - the last king crowned here in 1825 was Charles X
- the Smiling Angel on the facade
- Prussians took control in 1870, made it an administrative capital and looted the city
- the French then fortified the city to prevent it happening again, but it was taken by the Germans again within weeks of the start of WWI and the cathedral became a hospital for their troops for 1 week until they were forced to retreat by French troops to a few miles away where their big guns unloaded on the cathedral and the wooden scaffolding caught fire and severely damaged the building including the 600 yr old Smiling Angel statue which was broken by falling molten lead. The cathedral was to be hit by some 300 shells in WWI while also destroying some 95% of the buildings in the city - the population fled leaving only 1500 hiding in cellars.
- the cathedral and the Smiling Angel were rebuilt and open in 1935.
- the city suffered additional damage during WWII
- Palace of Tau, the cathedral museum, was the archbishop's palace and retains a 13c Palatine chapel
- Porte de Mars - a large late-Roman period triumphal arch
- Cryptoportique de Reims - Cryptoportico in the Roman forum - 3rdC AD
- Hotel de la Salle - a fine Renaissance mansion
- Hotel des Contes de Champagne is a fine Gothic merchant's house.
- 17thC Town Hall
- Saint Remi Basilica, a Romanesque church some way south of the centre of town
- 1,000-year-old church was named after the bishop, who baptised Clovis in 496. This pagan-turned-Christian became the first king of the Franks and united the Frankish tribes
- church of St Jacques - Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance rub shoulders
- Musee des Beaux Arts - superb watercolour portraits by Cranach the Elder and 20 paintings by Corot
- War Museum - Musee de la Reddition - the Surrender Museum - on May 7, 1945, the Germans signed documents that ended WWII
- 45min Factory tour - Chocolaterie Lothaire - Tour + 1 glass of Champagne: 12 €
- the many champagne houses and cellars
- The best excursion is apparently to drive the 45-mile Montagne de Reims Champagne Route (champagne-ardenne-tourism.co.uk).
- need to book in advance for tours
- eg. Maison Taittinger,Veuve Clicquot
reims.txt · Last modified: 2017/06/10 00:13 by gary1